OVERCOMING THREATS

AVAAT

A VERSE AT A TIME

TOPIC: OVERCOMING THREATS

TEXT: 1 KINGS 19

KEY VERSE: There he came to a cave and lodged in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, What are you doing here, Elijah? 1 Kings 19:9(AMPC)

Elijah had a remarkable ministry as a prophet, especially his contest with Baal’s prophets on Mount Carmel. He single-handedly shut the heavens for three and a half years because of Israel’s apostasy and Idolatry. He lived a miraculous life and performed several miracles Israel had not heard of before him.

Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 1 Kings 17:1(AMP)

 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.  Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the land produced its crops [as usual]. James 5:17-18(AMP)

Soon after an outstanding conquest at Mount Carmel, where fire fell from heaven to receive Elijah’s sacrifice, and he killed hundreds of the prophets of Baal, isn’t it shocking to see him running at the threat of one woman? Did he forget something about God’s providence or power? Why did he fear Jezebel more than trust God’s promises of protection? A close review of his activities reveals a few details about his physical and mental state at this time.

Elijah had been on the offensive, speaking against the powers of darkness. When they shot a threat at him, he failed to continue speaking or resisting them and fled instead. Fear takes root when you take God out of the picture and magnify what the devil is doing. In spiritual warfare, we are commanded to resist the devil, and he will flee from us after our submission to God. Our authority in Christ gives us the courage to resist the devil.

“You will also decide and decree a thing, and it will be established for you, And the light [of God’s favour] will shine upon your ways. Job 22:28(AMP)

I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth shall have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth shall have [already] been loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18(AMP)

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. James 4:7(AMP)

Therefore, put on the complete armour of God so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. Ephesians 6:13(AMP)

As soldiers of Christ, our lives are characterized by combat and warfare. We should not be at ease knowing that the enemy constantly seeks who to devour. Immediately after the victory at Mount Carmel, Elijah did not have a company of friends to return to but went away to be by himself. He even left his servant behind and went into solitude. Fellowship and companionship are critical during intense warfare against a believer; you need partners to support you when you are weak.

After Peter and John were released, they returned to their own [people] and reported everything that the chief priests and elders had said to them. And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence], and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage. Acts 4:23,31(AMP)

Elijah was woken from sleep by an angel and ate twice before continuing on his journey, emphasizing the importance of physical nourishment in ministry. Fasting is necessary, but there is also time to eat and rest well to fulfil all God has planned for you—lack of healthy balance of diet, sleep and exercise accounts for many untimely deaths. Many Christians never take a break from work, especially ministers throughout the year. God Almighty, the governor of the nations, rested; failing to take a break is an abuse of God’s temple and a manifestation of pride and Idolatry.

 There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven Ecclesiastes 3:1(AMP)

Physical exhaustion can affect mental capabilities, leading to conditions of depression or anxiety. “If you’re feeling exhausted and sluggish, and even simple tasks feel overwhelming to complete — or you find yourself so stressed out that you’re quick to get angry or frustrated — you might be experiencing burnout.” Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to retreat and refresh, teaching his disciples to do the same.

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while” —for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat. Mark 6:31(AMP)

In his loneliness, Jezebel’s threat sent the prophet to a place where he entertained wrong thoughts and wished for death. He took his eyes away from the future God had for him and the nation and focused on the past. No matter how long or hard you reflect, you cannot change the past. It is better to commit that unknown future to the hand of God, who has great plans for you.

But he himself traveled a day’s journey into the wilderness, and he came and sat down under a juniper tree and asked [God] that he might die. He said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 1 Kings 19:4

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11(AMP)

Elijah forgot there were other worshippers of Yahweh apart from him; he even forgot Obadiah, who had hidden other prophets and fed them. In isolation, the devil can fill your heart with thoughts of self-righteousness, so you will not have regard for other believers to hear what God will say through them and ask for their help. He was in the wrong place, so God appeared to ask him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. What can you learn from Elijah’s experience?
  2. Are you in a good place physically, mentally or spiritually?
  3. Do you have friends who support you when you are overwhelmed?
  4. When did you last take a break from work to refresh and retreat?

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